Today marked the half-way point in my chemotherapy. I think, after a conversation with my nurse at chemo today, that the raucous chemo days are leaving, along with the red devil.
Replacing it will be four sessions of benadryl-infused taxol treatments, which come with their own little devils – risk of allergic reaction being one of them. Benadryl, when taken intravenously, is apparently quite effective at putting one to sleep, and there is no point in fighting that from what I understand. Chemo will be a quieter affair for these next four. Perhaps I will bring one person with me to each, or a few who really like to talk to each other, because I will be bringing a blanket and a good pillow with me.
Two weeks ago I had so much energy that I wanted to do a four-hour hike and picnic to celebrate, and since then have had to come to terms with the fact that four-hour hikes are just not in the cards for me right now – not necessarily because I couldn’t do it, but more because it would have to be perfectly timed to avoid hitting the proverbial wall while in the middle of said hike – my friends are patient, but half-hour power naps mid-hike would be frustrating for even the best of them.
Today, we settled for wearing a little red (some needed props) in celebration of saying goodbye to the red devil, and lunch in my back yard right after chemo. And yes, there were mojitos.
It’s interesting what happens when you put a big group of people in the same space, and sit back and think about where everyone is coming from and what they’re dealing with. It can actually make you feel incredibly connected, and profoundly touched, because you know damn well everyone has their own demons they’re battling – not necessarily red devils, but devils in the form of their own diagnoses and fears, devils bearing banners saying ‘Kids + career = difficult’, or ‘My marriage is really shitty right now’, or ‘I have to put my dog to sleep tomorrow’, or ‘I just made a really difficult career choice’, or ‘I am tired and I need to support my daughter’, or ‘I am stuck in longing’, or ‘I am worried about my partner’s health’, … the list goes on.
What is amazing, and wonderful, and revealing, and telling is that all of these people come together when it is time to support someone, or celebrate something, and although there are tears, and there is sadness, and there is regret, and there is fear, these are drowned out for an hour or two by laughter, play, drink-mixing, filling of bellies, lots of hand-holding, hugging and (good-natured) harassing, and for just a little bit we are able to forget about our own little devils and live in the here and now. And let me tell you: For the here and now, I am thankful. xo